“As you can see, Billy Bush is not joining us today,” Roker said in kicking off the third hour of the show that Bush was named to join just this past May, from Access Hollywood. “As you probably are aware, part of the 2005 Access Hollywood taping with Donald Trump that’s been in the news all weekend.”
Roker was referring to the conversation caught on tape between Jeb Bush’s cousin and the GOP candidate where the two men made lewd remarks about women and Trump said his fame gave him the ability to kiss women and grab their genitals with impunity.
“NBC, which owns Access Hollywood, has suspended Billy for his role in that conversation, pending further review,” Hall added. “That said, let’s turn to last night’s debate where that 2005 tape played a big role.”
Roker then spoke of his own discomfort as his son watched last night’s debate as an 8th grade school assignment, during which Trump’s lewd conversation with Bush was front and center.
“I felt badly this is what they had to watch, especially the first 10, 15 minutes,” Roker said, calling the opening questions and shots between candidates “cringe-worthy.” Hall said she did not think anyone under age 18 should watch cable news during the election cycle.
The press has put Roker firmly into the Billy Bush Non Fan list since the Rio Olympics, when the two men got into a spitting match over Bush’s interview with Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte in which the athlete lied to Bush, saying he’d been pulled over and robbed with a gun pointed at his head.
“He lied,” Roker told Billy Bush on Today, when Lochte’s story had fallen apart. “He lied to you, he lied to Matt Lauer, he lied to his mom… He left his teammates hanging while he skedaddled. There was no robbery, there was no pull over. He lied.”
Bush defended Lochte, saying, “He certainly lied about some details,” causing Roker to erupt.
Bush’s suspension first was addressed this morning 15 minutes into Today‘s broadcast, after a brief show opening debate deconstruction, when Savannah Guthrie said, “We want to note one other thing, pending further review, NBC News has suspended Billy Bush, the host of Today’s third hour for his role in that conversation with Donald Trump.”
On Friday evening, Bush had issued a statement saying, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”
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